Baby's learning Final Cut
August 15, 2010 8:45 AM   Subscribe

The second small bedroom was an editing suite/video room, but soon the baby will arrive. Are there good examples of dual use rooms that're half baby/half studio in small spaces?

We're ecstatic about the baby, but ceasing with a work space isn't an option for what I do (please do not recommend unless you're sending us a substantial check), so we're looking for good examples of people who've managed to make do with less (pictures and creative ideas are a major plus; doesn't have to be video studio-centric). The second bedroom is small (9 x 7!). We don't have nearly enough money to do something like rent studio space, BUT we can spend a few bucks on getting furniture to make it work.
We know that this is a stop gap at best, and are already thinking about moving in two years, but want this to be as great as possible in the meantime. Thanks mefi.
posted by history is a weapon to Home & Garden (17 answers total)
Fitting a nursery into a home office at NYT
posted by sulaine at 9:01 AM on August 15, 2010

Babies don't really USE their rooms for much besides sleeping; you could probably get away with just a crib and some sort of clothing storage in there for the baby.

You could probably also get away with having the baby sleep in your room or the living room or hallway or something for two years with the crib in there.

Your downside, whatever you do, is that you won't really be able to use that space when the baby is sleeping.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:03 AM on August 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have not done this, but as the parent of a toddler and someone with a little bit of video editing savvy, I would say that it is *possible*, but you should be prepared to be flexible.

Now, one thing you might do is have the baby sleep in your room in a bassinet or similar for the first months. We had to do this out of necessity (lived in a small apt. - we own a house now with her own room), but it was also just easier to have her right there early on. So that would keep the editing room free for your use for awhile longer.

I would look into some sort of room separator, either a shoji screen type thing or heavy curtains so that any light from your work station would be blocked. Also, you'll want to think about some really good headphones and perhaps a fan for the baby's area to help block any noise coming from your work. Also, invest in a non-squeaky chair.

I'm not sure what your set-up is, but could you also invest in a laptop to perhaps work on some stuff outside of that room if absolutely necessary every so often?

I will continue to try to think of ideas!
posted by stefnet at 9:08 AM on August 15, 2010

I would move the baby into your room (or anywhere else) and keep your second bedroom as an office. That's what we did with baby 1 (except that we didn't have a second room then) and when twins arrived next we gave the second room to toddler, and moved twins in with us. We always kept an office space which was just adult in place, and that for us was invaluable. Alternately, you could move your office space into your bedroom (but I've never been a big fan of this).
posted by kch at 9:12 AM on August 15, 2010

I'd also recommend keeping baby in your room for the first year or so. We've done that with all three kids, and may keep our youngest with us a little longer-we have a three bedroom and he'll be sharing with his 4 year old sister but we don't want to move him until he sleeps later in the morning as she's a bear if she wakes up too soon. A pak'n'play and area for his clothes, diapers, etc is really all you need. They don't really go play in their rooms by themselves on the floor for several years, so you could have baby share with anything for a couple years. My concern about sharing baby's sleeping place with your work space is that you may not be able to work when baby is sleeping. My two eldest slept through anything as infants-youngest is an incredibly light sleeper-you never know until you meet the little person.
posted by purenitrous at 9:16 AM on August 15, 2010

I've done this, although not with a video editing setup and in a larger space, but it is certainly doable.

I would suggest holding off on buying any super-special furniture pieces until the baby is here and you see how your lives/schedules/etc. shape up.

All you really need beforehand, as some posters have said, is the baby's sleeping place. We borrowed this co-sleeper when our son was born, and it was small, cozy, flexible (co-sleeper or stand-alone bassinet), and WHEELED -- so baby can sleep in the office/nursery or bedroom as you figure things out.

And lightweight flannel receiving blankets! You'll need about 11,000 of those for spit-ups and diaper blowouts. Really. Not joking. 11,000.
posted by pantarei70 at 9:36 AM on August 15, 2010

I've seen something similar on HGTV's Colorsplash. It looks like the episode will be re-airing on August 20. I'm not sure if the design was more cute than practical, but it might provide you with some ideas.
posted by Hop123 at 10:28 AM on August 15, 2010

Or, if you have a large closet in your room or living room, I've seen those transformed into small sleeping nooks.
posted by barnone at 10:47 AM on August 15, 2010

Here's my suggestion:

Make both sleeping areas as flexible as possible for the adults. The kiddo doesn't need anything fancy at this point, but the working parents will. Inevitably there will be a time where one parent must get sleep, and the other parent must get zombie practice yet snooze while handling the baby. So maybe a futon or fold down bed or possibly just make sure there is a comfortable snooze spot in the common area.

As far as the baby goes, you can pretty much go find a small crib with rollers and shuffle that where necessary when the baby starts using it. Beyond that a basket with changing necessities and maybe a generally designated free of clutter space for changing and the kiddo will be good rather than a changing table. Eventually the baby sleeps somewhere independently, but I think you guys will figure something out that works for you, the kids sleeping habits and your routine 6 months in that has little relationship to the reality of this question right now.
posted by iamabot at 10:52 AM on August 15, 2010

Here's something that may be helpful: I do audio, not video, but it still applies. This tip is especially easy if you use an actual mixer.

I had a Mackie board for many years. In the beginning, I produced at a substantial volume, but when I started having headaches I realized that had to change. I put a piece of masking tape on the volume pots to stop myself from turning the volume any higher. Over a period of weeks (more like months, really), I'd lower the volume a tiny tiny bit until eventually I became a quiet producer.

I can't help but think something similar will help you a lot. I use this approach for more than just sound: I used to put a ton of sugar in my coffee. Now, I'm down to 1/4 of a teaspoon. Changing in tiny increments really really works for me.

Best of luck and congrats on the little one!
posted by 2oh1 at 11:15 AM on August 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here's what we're doing. First off, I bought an Elfa system to create a desk to ceiling bookcase that fit the space and super purged and organized my files/office stuff. This takes up about 1/4 of the space. In the remaining space will be a twin bed (for my mom when she visits to help out and for me when I need to get some sleep separate from my husband or to kick him out). We are also getting a low 3-drawer dresser for baby stuff and the top will be a changing table. We are hanging one of those over- the-door shoe storage pocket things to hold all sorts of small baby/diaper relate stuff.

We have a small co-sleeper bassinet that I'm told will work until about six months. That goes in our bedroom but it rolls so can be moved for naps or some other configuration. When we want a crib, a friend is keeping one for us and we'll either sell or store the twin bed and put the crib in there. When baby starts getting out of crib then we'll move!

I must have my office space for at least another year and this is what we're planning. Baby will not be bothered or affected by my office stuff until they are really mobile. And baby needs me to earn an income!
posted by amanda at 11:32 AM on August 15, 2010

Yeah, get two baby beds or get one bed you can move every day, then put the kid where you aren't.
posted by pracowity at 11:45 AM on August 15, 2010

Babies don't need bedrooms.

Add a dresser and some closet space (we do an Ikea PAX with bars to hang clothes on top and drawers below) and co-sleep. Done and done.
posted by k8t at 1:26 PM on August 15, 2010

Eyebrows, as usual, smartly points out that the home office won't be useable while baby sleeps and baby sleeping time is really the only time one can get anything done.
posted by k8t at 1:28 PM on August 15, 2010

Perhaps not related to strict AskMeFi: I knew someone with a home studio who supervised a toddler by giving her headphones and a mike, looped through an echoplex. He said it entertained her for hours.
posted by ovvl at 2:31 PM on August 15, 2010 recently did a series of blog posts about converting a 10' by 10.5' guest bedroom into a work-at-home office/guest bedroom/playroom. At the end of either of those linked blog posts, there is a paragraph of links to all the posts in the series.

Might be useful for inspiration, and I know that John and Sherry (the authors) welcome and respond to most renovation/redecoration questions.
posted by marteki at 4:09 PM on August 15, 2010

Better to have baby sleep in your room. You can use your studio when the baby is sleeping, and the baby will be nearby at night when its feeding time. I second the suggestion for a co-sleeper. They're pricey new, but you can often pick one up from craigslist much cheaper. I know it's traditional in the USA and UK to have a baby in their own room, but really its a giant waste of space. Pop a towel on your bed to make an impromptu changing table. Pop baby in the co-sleeper when its nap time or bedtime. My son slept in the co-sleeper for 8 months, then he moved to a crib in his brother's room. You could just move baby to a crib in your bedroom when they get to agile for the co-sleeper. Just think of the bedroom as the quiet room where people sleep, and the office as the noisy room where things get done.
posted by Joh at 11:35 PM on August 15, 2010

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